I have a local user on my laptop. My company is migrating to a domain setup and I want to migrate the local user to a domain user, with all the settings (desktop, Start menu, programs) intact. How can I do that?

Also, is it possible to have a local user with the same settings as the domain, for when I'm working on my laptop while not connected to the domain?

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Finally I used this solution


But in registry I mapped both (domain and local) users to same 'Profileimagepath' to same settings folder (Documents Adm Settings\xxx) so both users shares their settings(desktop, program). I like this solution.

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  • This is just too cool for school! I was all prepared to mess around with symlinks and junction points and a single registry change hit it right out of the park!! (BTW: Running Windows 7 Enterprise). – BillP3rd Sep 21 '10 at 4:54

Easiest way to transfer your profile to the domain is :

Go to system properties by Control Panel > System, or the easiest way is to press Windows Flag+Pause/Break.

Go to the advanced tab (XP and before), or click on "Advanced system settings" (Vista and 7).

(You may have to start by changing type to "Roaming Profile")

Click settings under "User Profiles", then find your user and choose the copy to option. Simply choose \servername and wherever your profiles are kept.

With Active Directory users and computers, make this the profile path and next time you login, it should pull this profile from the server.

As for if you can have this profile outside of the domain - Ask your administrator to enable remote working / cached credentials and the other mobility options. This will allow you to log on and work without actually being physically on the network.

If I have mis-understood anything, please leave comments and I will edit accordingly.

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  • 1
    I must be missing something, as my "Copy To..." button is disabled for a domain account. Alas, the only profile that enables that button is the "Default profile". – Padu Merloti Jul 15 '13 at 16:26

Cicik's registry solution worked great for me as well!

However, on a bunch of machines I had to do hardware replacements as well (migrating local users to domain users on new machines and new OS - Win10).

So had to use a different approach, basically doing a non-USMT migration. Now that Easy Transfer does not exist on Windows 10, used this tutorial: http://www.zinstall.com/how-to/how-to-migrate-user-profile-to-new-domain-windows-10-windows-7

On the plus side, this takes care of literally everything in the profile, including Outlook etc. Can even move software itself, although we did not need that in our case.

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  • I had to migrate a Windows 7 system from an old SBS 2003 domain to a new Server 2012 domain this weekend. I upgraded the OS from Wndows 7 to 10 after the transition. I found that UserProfile Wizard also works well. After the transition to the new domain, I couldn't migrate existing account profiles using Easy Transfer, but I was able to migrate profiles both before & after upgrading to Windows 10 with User Profile Wizard. I'll try your solution for cases where I need to also migrate apps to a new PC. – moonpoint Jan 3 '16 at 21:40

You should use Microsoft USMT. It is free to use, however its quite complicated.

Using a GUI makes it really simple though.

See this Technet article for more information on USMT how-to-migrate-windows-user-profile-to-new-account-new-pc-or-new-domain

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  • Please quote the essential parts of the answer from the reference link(s), as the answer can become invalid if the linked page(s) change. – DavidPostill Jun 14 '16 at 11:44

I found a very nice registry tweak. I can confirm, that it worked on 95% of computers. Those 5% I believe was damaged Windows installations. The howto is here: http://itswapshop.com/tutorial/windows-7-migrate-local-profiles-domain-profiles-5-steps-and-5-minutes-using-registry-tweak

  1. Join to Domain, restart, and then login as the local user.
  2. Grant full permission on c:\users\local_user to domain user and make sure to check "Replace all child object permissions with inheritable permissions from this object".
  3. While still logged in as the local user, open regedit and grant full control on the HKEY_CURRENT_USER key to the domain user. Make sure to check "Replace all child object permissions with inheritable permissions from this object".
  4. Restart and log in as the domain user to create records in registry
  5. Restart again and log back in as the local user: .\local_user
  6. In regedit expand HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList. Each key here is associated with a user account on this computer. Go through each key and look at the ProfileImagePath string. Find the string for the local user and copy it. Paste it into the same string for the domain user. You do not have to delete the entire key for the local user under the ProfileList key. You will still be able to log in as the local user.
  7. Restart and login as the domain user.
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  • Simply posting a link is not enough. At least state the basic steps mentioned in the link. If the link dies/changes in the future your answer will be useless then. – Ayan Dec 21 '15 at 2:13

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